Mumbai: Off to the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) for the screening of her debut feature film "Haraamkhor" -- a title an actress with quintessential Bollywood preferences perhaps won't prefer -- debutante Shweta Tripathi hopes the international film jamboree makes her stronger about her choice of the evolving offbeat genre in Indian cinema.
"Haraamkhor", a debut feature by director Shlok Sharma, features Hindi cinema's acting powerhouse Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a school teacher who enters a forbidden relationship of sorts with his student, essayed by the vibrant 29-year-old Shweta.
"The festival is going to be a platform for me to showcase my work. At the events, I'm looking forward to interact with talent from all over the world, watch cinema that will inspire me and motivate me to carry on and be strong about my choices," Shweta told IANS before flying off to Los Angeles, for her film's screening which is scheduled for Wednesday. IFFLA will also screen her short film "Safar".
Next month "Haraamkhor" heads to the New York Indian Film Festival.
The journey to films has been "very eventful" for Shweta -- the daughter of Delhi's former chief secretary P.K. Tripathi -- who came to Mumbai eight years ago and not in the pursuit of becoming an actor.
But love for theatre since her childhood days brought this National Institute of Fashion Technology graduate closer to the world that she's now ready to invade with her talent.
Shweta heads a theatre group which goes by the quirky name of AllMyTea Productions; she featured as the lively Zenia Khan in Disney channel's "Kya Mast Hai Life"; has featured in short films, and has several advertisements to her credit.
She says "theatre makes you disciplined, makes your foundation strong and helps you explore".
Films, of course, are a different medium, but for the actress, her "choices are shaped by what I like".
And while she maintains that she's a "very happy, positive person", she is attracted to and excited by "dark roles, a bit twisted and with a disturbed past".
How come a debut with the title "Haraamkhor"?
"The title came later. I had worked with Shlok on his short film 'Sujata'. It's after shooting for it that he told me he'd like me to be a part of his first feature (good work gets you more work).
"I heard the script. It had all the ticks on my check list. And who was I going to be opposite? Nawaz? Nawazuddin Siddiqui? Sure! And then I met him during costumes trials and that's when it finally sunk in that I am actually going to be working with him," she gushed.
After having worked with Nawazuddin, who's already become a poster boy of sorts of Indian films at foreign film galas, she says "he's an institution in himself".
"He never made me feel anything less than him," she said, stressing that she is here to continue doing "meaningful" cinema "that makes you think and that makes you feel".